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Show me one brave Zimbabwean woman
Rejoice Ngwenya
December 03, 2012

Before feminist fundamentalists hurl proverbial shrapnel at me, I implore them to read beyond my provocative heading. Blind fury, senseless ire is the opium of the unenlightened. If you are of weak gender predisposition, allergic to straight 'flash lithography' talk, you might as well terminate your literary frolic here. I acknowledge the proliferation of ordinary Zimbabwean women daily confronting hunger, poverty, pain, abuse and suffering caused by but not necessarily limited to the inept militarised governance of ZANU-PF. Women lay down their lives to challenge authoritarian hegemony, partisan food aid and de-humanising violence since Gukurahundi up to the life-sapping June 2008 elections.

My problem is with their political emissaries who wield superficial influence. It is no longer fashionable to proffer patriarchy as an excuse for exclusion. My point is simple. In order to end gender-based violence and oppression, women must have the capacity to infiltrate and control the manner in which government operates. In fact, they must be government. They ought to wield the very power to determine the destiny and the fate of the citizens they want to immunise against the venom of abuse. Voting for the 'right' man is not good enough. Being Vice President, deputy Prime Minister, Secretary General or even Minister is not sufficient. The Zimbabwean woman must be Prime Minister, National or party President. Be the change that you want.

Show me that woman, that single brave woman who can say ' at the next elective party congress - I want to challenge for presidential candidature. Show me a Zimbabwean Helen Zille; an Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; a Joyce Banda. Give me the privilege of hearing Joyce Mujuru proclaiming in Gweru: "Hey, you know what, this should now end. My name must be on the next ZANU-PF presidential ballot paper." I want to be in a room where Thokozani Khupe raises her hand to say: "People, I don't care what you think; it's my turn now to head MDC-T." Would it not be refreshing to look Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga straight in the eye as she concludes "thank you colleagues for allowing me to run as MDC party president"? Get me in the same zone with Emilia Mukaratirwa beaming: "This is a great moment in history - ZAPU is now led by me, the woman of first choice." Zimbabwe, show me that woman. Not in sixteen years, sixteen months, sixteen days, not in one day, but now. That to me is ultimate woman activism - the activism of control - transformative, earth shattering, gravity defying political control.

Without power - real political power - Zimbabwean women will forever languish in the fumes spewed by the masculine prejudices of Morgan Tsvangirayi, Welshman Ncube, Dumiso Dabengwa and Robert Mugabe. They will expend energy to gather crumbs - stale for that matter - from the foot of the patriachial political table. Neither education, nor profession; neither enthusiasm nor loud singing; neither high decibel advocacy nor a seat in the United Nations Security Council - can save Zimbabwean women from oppression until they control government. Without being 'head of state and government, commander in chief' - Zimbabwean women political 'leaders' are nothing but another perfect gift from God to men.

Power, unlike beauty, in not in the eye of the beholder, it is in the hands of the wielder. Zimbabwean women hear me: you will only move mountains if you leverage the power in your hands. If a Zimbabwean woman is not a president or a prime minister, sixteen days will blur into sixteen weeks, sixteen months, sixteen years, and sixteen centuries - before they determine their own destiny.

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